The Federal Government yesterday disclosed that the rehabilitation works on the Port Harcourt Refinery will be completed in December 2023.
The rehabilitation of the refinery was awarded to Maire Tecnimont SpA in April, 2021 at the cost of $1.5 billion. The first phase of the project was initially scheduled for completion next month.
But speaking after an inspection visit to the refinery, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri said the refinery will be back on stream in December.
A statement by the NNPC Limited in Abuja said the Minister reiterated the Federal Government commitment to end petroleum product importation soon, as efforts are being redoubled to restore the nation’s local refining capacity.
He said: “Our objective in coming here today is to ensure that in the next few years, Nigeria stops fuel importation. From what we have seen here today, Port Harcourt Refinery will come on board by the end of the year, Warri will come on stream by the end of the first quarter of next year, and Kaduna will also come on board towards the end of next year. If you add that to the Dangote Refinery, we will be able to stop fuel importation, and Nigerians will enjoy the full benefits of deregulation”.
Sen. Lokpobiri who expressed satisfaction with the ongoing rehabilitation work at the refinery, noted that once all the refineries are back on stream, Nigerians will enjoy a better supply of petroleum products, and foreign exchange will be domesticated, leading to an improved economy.
The Minister was accompanied on the inspection visit by the Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas), Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ambassador Gabriel T. Aduda, and the Group CEO, NNPC Ltd., Mr. Mele Kyari.
In his remarks, Hon. Ekpo said: “We are here to go into the field. Yesterday was the era of subsidies. Today, we don’t have subsidies. Today, people are in a desperate situation to heave a sigh of relief; and see how to live. You all know that petrol is very vital to our economy. All hands must be on deck to ensure that the refineries are working”
Earlier, Mr. Kyari informed the ministers that bringing back the refineries to their optimal levels is a national aspiration, and the Company remains focused on delivering that.
According to him, “We are aware of our nation’s challenges in terms of fuel supply. But we are not here to give excuses. We are focused on delivering this rehabilitation project, our two other refineries, and all other investments towards revamping the nation’s refining capacity. We are hopeful that in 2024, this country will be a net exporter of petroleum products”.
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